Good morning!! It’s Friday my friends, which means it is once again time for Let’s Talk Bookish! Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by me and Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.
Today’s topic is: Should Reviewers Go “Easier” on Self-Published Authors?
This is a really great topic, and Dani was the one who chose it. I’ve felt that at times, it might be nicer to go easier on self-published authors since they don’t always have the resources available to traditionally published authors. But at the same time, it’s technically wrong to do so.
When I got my first review request, it was for a self-published book. I was nervous, and I was trying really hard to enjoy it because I didn’t want to have to write a negative review. It was super nerve-wracking.
Of course, I still gave it an honest review. I didn’t really enjoy it, and if I remember right, I only gave it 2 stars.
But was I as scathing as I might have normally been? Well..no.
It just didn’t sit right with me to be salty or sarcastic especially since it was a self-published book and the author could easily come across my review.
Should that really be my concern?
Yes and no. The author offered me their book to review, and there is always a chance that I could hate it or think it the King of Books, so I shouldn’t be overly nice or more relenting just because the author is self published. But at the same time, the fact that there is a much much higher chance that the author would come across my review, means that I should also be sensitive and aware of that.
Now that I’ve read a few more review copies, I’ve semi-let go of this fear. I’m still not absolutely scathing if I don’t like the book, but at the same time, I’m not extremely lenient either, or always willing to make excuses for the author.
There has been only one time that I DNFed a review copy, and I think it was by a self-published author. I just could not stand it or make any excuses for it. It was just too much, and I did let the author know why I didn’t like it in an absolutely respectful manner as I would with any author, self published or not.
Why do I sometimes feel like self-published authors should get some leniency?
Because they don’t have the same budget and author support that traditionally published authors would get. They wouldn’t have a marketing team helping them market their book. It’s just them trying to make their book survive in relative obscurity.
And that makes me feel kind of bad, because for these authors, reviews count more than ever. If I write a very negative review and publish it on Goodreads when the book has only 10 reviews, my negative review is going to drop the rating more severely (compared to a a more popular book), and has a higher chance of being seen by other readers who might decide not to read the book.
But then at the same time, I’m supposed to give an honest review, and a negative review is my honest review. So do I just not review a self-published book that I hated, but review the ones that I like?
That doesn’t seem fair. I don’t want to be doing that.
A book is a book. Our jobs as reviewers is to review the book. There shouldn’t be any outside factors influencing our thoughts towards the book. I shouldn’t care if the author is so popular, I’ve been hearing about them since I was 5 years old. I shouldn’t care if the author has 0 reviews on Goodreads.
A review is supposed to share our likes and dislikes about the book, so a technical and very objective answer would be that no, we should not be lenient towards self-published authors.
But subjectively? I feel like knowing that the book is self-published makes me more lenient and willing to overlook smaller things.
This Week’s Participants:
So, this discussion is not very well put together, and I’m sorry! I actually forgot that today was Friday (you can thank school for that) and I was scrambling to put something together. And yes, school has started, and I still have not gotten that hang of things, but we’ll see how it goes.
Are you more lenient to self-published books? Objectively, do you agree that we shouldn’t be lenient? Do you still review self-published that you didn’t like? Do you even review self-published books because I know some reviewers don’t? Chat with me in the comments below!